U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) today issued the following statement regarding Secretary of Defense Robert Gates’ announcement that the Department of Defense will delay its decision on a $35 Billion tanker contract until the next administration:
 
“While I applaud this decision, I have serious misgivings about the management of the process thus far and the fact that our troops now face a further delay in getting newer tankers to replace the aging planes in the current fleet. Our troops deserve better. However, given the short timeframe before a new administration takes over, as well as the significant problems and controversy surrounding the tanker, this was the fairest course of action for all parties involved.
 
“A new Administration can bring a much-needed fresh outlook and fair-minded approach to the tanker acquisition. This is the right step for our military, Boeing workers, the residents of Washington State and the American tax payers.”
 
“I look forward to working with the new administration to provide a fair and open tanker competition and ensure the mistakes of the past are not repeated.”